Local Bait and Tackle Shops at the Service of Island Anglers

Mar 23, 2018

Fisherman’s Headquarters

280 West Ninth St. in Ship Bottom


If you continue eastward after arriving on Long Beach Island, it’s hard to miss Fisherman’s Headquarters on the right. And if you’re an angler, you don’t want to miss it. This full-service, one-stop bait and tackle shop “carries a wide and deep assortment of items, from top-name brands to hard-to-find specialty items,” says the store’s Greg Cudnik.

Fisherman’s Headquarters – Fish-Heads to its regulars – is open year ’round, and welcomes anglers of all ages and abilities. “We cater to both first-time fishing rookies to lifelong salty experts,” Cudnick stated.  “If you are in search of bait or tackle, have a question about a fishing technique or presentation, need help with a problem or just want to talk fishing, stop by and say hello!”

As the store’s comprehensive website, FishermansHeadquarters.com, explains, after the 1962 Storm hammered the Island, “an avid angler, Russ Walls, commissioned LBI native and neighbor Art Cox to clear the lot at the entrance to LBI just a short distance to the east of the Causeway Bridge. Fisherman’s Headquarters was born and still stands today at the same location.”

Walls eventually sold the business to Vince Goddard, who later passed on ownership to Bob Dodds. In 1984, Stan Cudnik, a passionate inshore and offshore angler and Greg’s father, bought the business.

“Since 1962 we’ve prided ourselves on sales and service,” the younger Cudnick stated. “Even after the sale is past, we offer assistance with maintenance, repair and warranty issues. We are New Jersey’s exclusive Van Staal service center and one of the few Penn Reels service centers. All service work is done in-house by our factory-trained technicians. We also have expert rod craftsmen performing top quality rod repair.”

And, he added, “for about 20 years we’ve offered Long Beach Island (and the central Jersey coast’s) premier fishing report blog, FishingLBI.com. During the season this blog is active, sharing the pulse of the local fishing. Fishing LBI doesn’t stop at just reporting on the fishing front. It shares stories, industry and local fishing trends, weather-related happenings and, most importantly, news on the fisheries and the fishing regulations.”

Follow Fish-Heads on Facebook and Instagram, and shop the store online at FishermansHeadquarters.com.


Surf City Bait & Tackle

317 Long Beach Blvd. in Surf City


“It’s all about the people” at Surf City Bait & Tackle, said Susan Castrati, who owns the shop with her husband, John. “We’re a small store, but that makes us stand apart.

“Each bait and tackle shop has its own signature,” Castrati noted. “We take pride in our customer service. That’s number one. We want people to come in and feel relaxed. We take time with our customers.”

The Castratis are happy to offer the basics to individuals just learning to fish; they welcome questions and strive to ensure that people don’t feel intimidated. And the shop rents rods and carts for those without their own fishing equipment, as well as clam rakes, crab traps and more.

Surf City Bait & Tackle also offers a free fishing class – Sundays with Bob, with resident expert Bob Massa – 6 to 7 p.m. from July 4 the weekend to Labor Day.

Also in the summertime, the store holds a kids crabbing contest; for a stretch of eight weeks, youngsters can bring in a legal size crab and have their photo taken. At the end of each week, the kid with the biggest crab wins a crab trap donated by Sportfish Inc.

The shop keeps a catalog of the crab photos on its website, surfcitybaitandtackle.com, along with photos of fish of all types caught by anglers of all ages. The site also includes daily fishing reports in season, tournament information, bait status – what the store has available, and what it’s out of that day – and more.

And, on the last day of the annual LBI Surf Fishing Classic each fall, Surf City Bait & Tackle holds a barbecue “to thank everybody for coming in and supporting us,” said Castrati.

“I believe in the Golden Rule: Treat others how you want to be treated,” she pointed out. “We have fun, we banter, and we care.”

The fun includes a colorful board the Castratis place outside the shop, painted with a striped bass, a shark and an angler, with face cutouts to encourage funny photos.

Surf City Bait & Tackle is open as of St. Patrick’s Day weekend. However, during the off-season, the Castratis will take calls from anglers and open the shop door if they need something – and they’ll do the same late at night and early in the morning during the season, for contest weigh-ins, bait and other necessities. That 24-hour customer service, said Castrati, is a unique component of the business.

To learn more, visit surfcitybaitandtackle.com or the shop’s Facebook page.


Captain’s Quarters Bait & Tackle

8201 Long Beach Blvd. in Brighton Beach


“I’ve always been a fisherman,” said Dan Yaniro, owner of Captain’s Quarters Bait and Tackle. “People know I’m not just a vendor” – meaning they feel confident stopping at his shop for gear and tips.

Yaniro holds a New Jersey state record for largest red drum, a 55-pounder caught in 1984. Two years ago, he brought in a 45-pound striped bass. He knows his fishing.

After retiring from his job as a meat manager at Pathmark, Yaniro ran Holgate Marina for four or five years. Since Superstorm Sandy, he’s been at his current location in the Brighton Beach section of Long Beach Township.

“From my experience as a meat manager, I run the store like that,” keeping track of what’s moving and what’s needed, he explained.

“I react to the fish.” There are big runs of bluefish in the suds every spring, for example, “so you zero in on that.” Fall means stripers, and Yaniro stocks clams and bunkers. In the summer, anglers target fluke and kingfish on the beach, and need Gulp and bucktails for bait. He also makes sure to have enough crab traps if the summertime crabbing is good.

“You bring in what people want and need,” said Yaniro. “I carry everything, but I zero in on what the clientele needs,” seasonally.

Summer also brings more fishing novices to the shop, he added, “so you do more teaching,” about what to use, what to target, where to go.

“I had one guy come in who said he’d only fished in fresh water, and I told him, ‘You catch one fish off the surf, you won’t go freshwater fishing again.”

The allure, as Yaniro explained: “You’re fighting the fish. You’re fishing the surf. You have to know what you’re doing.”

Yaniro plugged the upcoming spring Simply Bassin’ Tournament, which used to reward anglers for just the top five biggest striped bass caught, but this year participants can also win for the biggest bluefish. Interested competitors can sign up at any of the four Island bait and tackle shops.

Captain’s Quarters is open on weekends now, and full time starting in April, seven days a week from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“Whatever you need,” said Yaniro, “I’ll have it or I’ll get it.”

Captain’s Quarters is online at captainsquarters.wix.com/holgatemarina and on Facebook.


Jingles Bait and Tackle

1214 North Bay Ave. in Beach Haven


In the blink of an eye (give or take), Steve and Carol Ann Palmer went from patrons to owners of Jingles Bait and Tackle.

Steve began coming to LBI about 20 years ago, to visit Carol’s family. His older brothers took up surf fishing around that same time, and Steve soon became “hooked” alongside them. “Once I learned the very basics of surf casting, I took a walk over to Jingles Bait and Tackle to look around,” he noted. “That is when I really fell in love with fishing.”

Jingles was opened in 1976 by Robert (“Jingles”) and Margaret O’Brien, and Margaret continued to run the shop after her husband passed away in 1996. “Margaret sold me my first rod and reel combo, and my first variety of baits, but best of all, she taught me how to cast, how to fish, how to have a fun, relaxing time up on the surf or on the bay,” Steve stated.

“Last April,” he added, “the craziest thing happened: Carole Ann and I, along with our dear friend Bill Van Tol, made our annual spring pilgrimage to open up the house, have some beers and maybe do a little fishing. After all of the necessary chores had been completed, Bill and I took a walk to Jingles to buy some bait.” But, Jingles was closed, and for sale.

Steve asked Carole Ann, “Wanna buy a bait store?” and soon after, the couple left Corporate America for the bait and tackle business.

The Palmers aim to offer, a la Jingles and Margaret, “a happy, family-oriented shop where you can pick up the latest in fishing needs or find your old favorites. Where you can grab fresh bait for any type of fishing or crabbing. Where you can come have a cup of coffee, laugh and tell your best fish stories. Where you can run into your old fishing pals or make new ones.

“We have tried to keep aesthetic changes to a minimum so that when long-standing tourist season customers arrive after a long winter, they walk into their favorite fishing supply store and can go right to where they know to find what they want. We equally want our local legendary fishermen to come and get their necessary supplies at a reasonable price, but also come and stay for a bit to talk, laugh and help Carole Ann and I learn!

“Jingles has been a integral part of the fishing life on LBI, and that is not a fact we take lightly.”

The store stocks a full selection of lures and rigs for each season, as well as fresh bait from local suppliers.

And, said Steve, for the beginning angler, “There are numerous affordable ‘starter’ combination rods and reels that really have everything you need to jump into an incredible hobby.”

Check out Jingles at jinglesbaitandtackle.com and on Facebook, or stop in once the store reopens March 29.


Tony’s Bait & Tackle

1347 East Bay Ave. in Manahawkin


Just over the Causeway Bridge, Andy Tonneson runs Tony’s Bait & Tackle, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father, both named Edward.

“The Tonnesens lay claim to being the oldest family-run business in Stafford Township and one of the oldest in Ocean County,” explains the business website, tonysbaitandtackle.com. “Established as a bait and tackle business in 1927 by Andy’s grandfather Edward Tonnesen, Tony’s is actually named after Andy’s great-grandfather Tonnes Tonnesen,” a Danish immigrant who caught and sold seafood up and down coast of New Jersey before settling at the store’s current location on Bay Avenue.

“Since the building was low to the ground, it was prone to flooding. In 2000, Andy tore down the original structure and replaced it with an extensive building, allowing him to tremendously increase his inventory.

“Andy tries, and usually with success, to supply his customers with a variety of quality live, fresh and frozen baits,” the site notes. “To help ensure the quality of his bait, Andy catches a portion of the fresh and live baits sold at Tony’s.”

The shop supplies live minnows, live grass shrimp, live green crabs, live shedder crabs, live eels, bloodworms, sandworms, nightcrawlers, fresh spearing, fresh bunker and surf clams, season dependent.

Tony’s also stocks a variety of rods and reels, including brand names such as Shimano, Penn, Avet, Fenwick, Daiwa, Ugly Stik and Abu-Garcia. And the store “can make your old rods and reels like new again in their rod and reel service department, although Andy does admit that some times it is cheaper to buy new,” the site points out.

Stop by Tony’s, as well, for lures; bucktails; hooks; terminal tackle; tackle bags; pre-made rigs, ranging from snapper blue to shark; top-quality fishing line and various-sized landing nets and gaffs.

And finally, for the crabbers, says the site, “Tony’s has everything you need to harvest your own tasty crustacean, and if you do not fare too well on your own, you can purchase some blue claws from Stinky’s right next door to Tony’s.”

Tony’s Bait & Tackle is open all year, with reduced hours in the winter. Call 609-597-7250 or e-mail hooknwhistle@yahoo.com for store hours or additional information.

The shop is also on Instagram, @tonys_bait_and_tackle.


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